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Job Market Trends to Watch

By January 9, 2014 No Comments

trend graphCareerBuilder’s CEO, Matt Ferguson, provided an analysis of upcoming workplace trends recently, attributing a tough job market in part to ongoing debt issues in Washington and in part to shaky employer confidence in a full jobs recovery.  These factors play into several trends impacting job seekers and hiring efforts across nearly every industry.

Hiring for full-time, permanent positions has stalled, with many companies leaning more heavily on contract, temporary and part-time labor.

The rate of employers expecting to hire for full-time, permanent positions has dropped by 2 percent since last year.  According to the article, nearly a quarter of employers intend to wait until the debt ceiling is resolved (sometime in the first quarter) to decide whether or not to expand headcount.  Currently, sales professionals are in highest demand, with 30 percent of hiring managers seeking candidates to fill full-time roles in that discipline.  Nearly as many IT roles will need filling, while accounting/finance, research/development and human resources may represent 15 percent or less of full-time, permanent opportunities.

An increased use of temporary and contract workers provides employers greater flexibility in the workforce, enabling companies to adapt readily to fluctuations in business.  As many as 42 percent of employers mean to hire temporary or contract workers this year, an increase of 2 percent more than in 2013.  Some 12 percent of employers cited the Affordable Care Act as the driving force behind an intention to hire more part-time workers in 2014.

Opportunities within specialized disciplines are expected to grow, though a widening skills gap may mean a need to boost training efforts.

Technological innovations and new discoveries in the sciences traditionally fuel economic growth.  Much of the focus of the past several years will remain on recruiting in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) disciplines, which have previously been responsible for strengthening the economy.  More than a quarter of employers (26 percent) plan to create jobs in these disciplines and the same number indicated an intention to increase starting salaries for specialized roles.

The article notes, however, that more than half of HR managers (51 percent) are already struggling to fill high-skill positions with qualified candidates, a problem that is expected to worsen as opportunities increase.  Rather than hold out for the perfect candidate, companies are beginning to focus more on training and development.  As many as 26 percent of employers are sending workers back to school for advanced degrees and footing some or all of the bill and the number of employers who mean to hire candidates inexperienced in their field and then provide them training is up 10 percent from 2013.